Fuel Lay Up Guide

How to look after your fuel over Winter Lay Up

It’s almost lay-up time

This guide will help you to avoid fuel related issues next Spring.

Your fuel is going to be sitting in your tanks for many months and during this time, it will degrade and become susceptible to diesel bug.

Why will my fuel degrade?

Fuel is manufactured to be used regularly, not stored for long periods of time. The fuel majors put in enough additive for diesel to be fit for purpose for 6 months. When purchased, diesel can already be 2 months old and will have changed hands many times.

What is diesel bug and why a risk?

Diesel bug is a combination of yeast, mould and bacteria and comes from water in your tank. Now we’re not talking about litres and litres of water, but the smallest amount. It can enter your tank in a number of ways. By absorption from the atmosphere, from your supplier and even from over-enthusiastic deck washing. Diesel bug multiplies fast, it doubles in size every 20 minutes, lives for around 30 hours, it will secrete waste and then die, sinking to the bottom of your tank resembling a sludge like substance. This will then block your filters and eventually stop your engine. Lay-up time is like party time for diesel bug, it has a long period of time to breed, multiple, secrete and die and you’ll soon know about it when you start your engines.

What can you do to combat fuel degradation and diesel bug?

Firstly, we recommend that you fill your tanks. This will reduce the amount of condensation on the sides of the tank caused by temperature fluctuation.

Secondly, drain any water from your tank. If you remove the water, diesel bug can’t breed! Use the drain cock, or if you do not have a drain, consider a de-watering system, such as our Diesel Dipper®. It is imperative that you reach below the fuel suction to the very bottom of your tank. Unfortunately, your water separator will not reach the floor of the tank – it sits between the tank and the engine and fuel suction is never off the floor of the tank.

Thirdly, treat your fuel with an additive. Diesel Fuel Complete is a multi-functional treatment that contains a biocide to prevent diesel bug, a stabiliser to prevent oxidisation, a detergent to remove harmful deposits and importantly a cetane improver - this gives you easier starting and worth noting that cetane is the often the first element to degrade.

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Top tip

We’ve all heard the saying “prevention is better than cure”. For simple and effective fuel management all year round, we recommend removing the water from your tanks regularly and continued use of Diesel Fuel Complete. We make the bold statement that if you do this, you will see an end to fuel related breakdowns.

For any further advice, please contact our friendly team.

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Peter Weide is MD of MarShip UK, a UK based company specializing in optimising the efficiency of marine diesel engines. Advising on maintaining the cleanliness of Air, Fuel and Lubricating oil, we regularly recommend solutions to operators and appear regularly in industry press, with our full range of diesel additives DieselAid we can offer solutions for most operating conditions and wont advise them if you don’t need them.

Prolonging Efficiency in Your Diesel Engine